Not only has he released his own clothing line, he’s also dropped his most accomplished release since last year’s stunning debut album Unfold – the crucial new Deadbeats EP Paradise – and is currently on a huge US tour to support it.
But that’s not all…
He’s also developing a new event concept – De Verte. We caught him launch it at NOX On The Beach earlier this year. And with the grey days and darker nights kicking in, we thought it would be the perfect time to throw back to the summer and tell you what it’s all about.
The story goes back exactly three months ago. August 12; a day when every bass head from The Netherlands, Belgium, and even further flocked down to Eindhoven for NOX On The Beach. It promised to be a day full of drum & bass, dubstep, bass house, and other electronic music, surrounded by a sunny beach and beautiful people. On the line-up: Netsky, Culture Shock, Reaper and many more.
The must-see on our list, though? IMANU and his new concept De Verte.
“It’s a new brand with which we’re going to organise events, and today is the first one. On the line-up you’ll find a lot of friends, I have a lot of respect for all of them,” IMANU told us.
“I chose the name De Verte simply because I like how it sounds, it’s Dutch, nothing too difficult. When choosing a name, a lot of brands are going the English route or the Latin one. I wanted to keep it simple, but still a little mysterious. De Verte doesn’t say a lot, and keeps it lowkey. Here’s a fun fact for you: a lot of people thought it was French at first, and in Spanish ‘De Verte’ means ‘to see’.”
To celebrate his debut De Verte event, IMANU brought some friends. MOD, Koarse, Waeys, Machinedrum, Thys, Buunshin, and The Caracal Project would make their way to the stage soon. Unfortunately MOD had to cancel last minute, so when we arrived at the scene, Koarse was well on his way to deliver a banger of a two-hour set.
“This gave me the space to play everything from Fatima Yamaha to Djrum to Rooler to clipping,” Koarse posted on their Instagram. “I’ve never felt as creatively free on stage to just go with the energy and see where it ends up regardless of genre, so if anyone wants to book me for some long sets, please do!”
The next artist to take the stage was Waeys.
“He is a good friend of mine. I haven’t known him for that long, but I do know he makes some banging beats,” IMANU explained why he brought Waeys on board. “It’s a little bit more minimal, UK-style drum & bass, but I think that’s good to switch it up at this stage.”
And so he did. Waeys played it deep but was not afraid to switch it up with breakbeat and other multi-genre tracks.
IMANU looked forward the most to Machinedrum, the next one on the line-up. “I booked him because he doesn’t play in The Netherlands a lot,” IMANU says. “He was the first act I asked NOX to book. The music he plays is very broad, very original, all in his own style.”
Machinedrum played a mix of dubstep, halftime, drum & bass, and finished his set with a good ol’ reload for one of his newest tracks. He came, saw and conquered. What we got after, though, was something even IMANU didn’t know until a few days before the festival… Machinedrum b2b Thys.
“I’m really curious to see that b2b, because I didn’t even know they were going to do this,” says IMANU.
When Thys took over the decks, we got more multi genre business, and the crowd loved it. “I’m honored to have Thys here today,” IMANU adds. “Noisia booked me before, which was amazing, so it’s only fair to return the favour. I’ve got a lot of respect for them.”
“I don’t think I need to explain why I booked these next artists,” says IMANU when The Caracal Project and Buunshin are ready to take over. “We play a lot of shows together, and have known each other for a long time now. We do b2bs, tour together, they both make sick music… They are truly two of my favourite artists in the drum & bass scene right now, so it made sense to book them today.”
For The Caracal Project it was his first set back after a rupture in his eardrum, and it was clear that all ravers had missed him. With the dancefloor filling up, friends in front of the stage and everyone coming out to celebrate under the setting sun, the De Verte stage became a family affair. From garage edits of Sub Focus’ Fine Day and Boom Boom Boom Boom! by The Venga Boys, to his summer single I Need A Break, the Frenchman didn’t struggle to keep the people dancing. What a strong comeback.
And then it was time for Buunshin. He chose to not follow the multi genre route everyone else had been taking, and kept it drum & bass his whole set. He went dark and deep, and here and there we still found some garage influences such as a remix of Jamie xx – I Don’t Know. He ended with his latest song I Think I Feel… which left us wanting more. “Being here with all the homies on one line-up is a dream come true,” Buunshin finished. “This is only the beginning of De Verte!”
As day turned to night, IMANU took the stage at 9pm. Everyone had the same question: how long would his set be? On the line-up, no end hour had been communicated, and this resulted in many guesses. Would he play a two-hour set? A three-hour set? Maybe something else would be happening? One thing we did know was that it was going to be a special one.
“I’ll play a lot of drum & bass in my set, because I simply like playing it,” IMANU told us when we spoke with him before his set. “Maybe some multi genre here and there, because I didn’t get an end hour.”
Today was a celebration for multiple reasons. One reason was this day being the first of many for his concept De Verte, the second was him counting down to the release of his very own clothing line 14SaintDenis, which launched just weeks after on August 23. “Today I’m wearing one of the pieces of this line, some buckle wrap shorts. Me and Cynthia Liu, a fashion designer, worked years on it. It’s a very black collection, with amazing materials, and nice shapes. I’m not going to lie, it’s quite expensive, but you get a lot for it. It’s good and honest clothing, it’s worth it.”
“People often ask me whether there’s a relation between my fashion and my music, but that’s not the case. My fashion is a lot darker, industrial, and has more links with techno. My music is way more melodic. I associate it with roses. The flowering, withering… My art always has some flowers in it, I just love their image.”
And then there was a third and last reason we were all celebrating today: the fast approaching release of his next EP Paradise. “It’s going to be the next step in my very own story,” IMANU tells us about the release which officially dropped last month, October 20. “Paradise is going to be an evolution of Unfold. I’ll keep it melodic, drum & bass, chaotic, dubstep, multigenre. My style.”
Taking the stage, it would soon be clear he wasn’t going just play a one-hour set. Playing music ranging from distorted and techy, to dark and kind of hopeful, IMANU played something for everyone. Our personal favourites? His Camo & Krooked – No Tomorrow edit, the IMANU x Buunshin edit of Breach – Jack and his tracks from the upcoming Paradise EP. We saw a lot of happy faces. It was clear nobody wanted the night to end.
And end it did not… After IMANU’s one-hour set, all the artists on the line-up came on stage and got ready for a massive b2b2b2b2b… “We are not going to play any more drum & bass now!”, proclaimed Thys. Friends played next to each other, older and newer generations of drum & bass met, and the limits of bass music were tested.
A fitting end to a unique and beautiful day. De Verte is a perfect example of the sonic diversity we really need in the scene. It also has to be noted that NOX too are at the forefront of breaking down boundaries with a third of their line-up comprising female and non-binary artists. We can’t wait to see what both IMANU and NOX bring next. One thing is for sure: that day we tasted a little bit of IMANU’s own version of Paradise.
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